Lyft seeks to raise some $2 billion in IPO

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Lyft said on Monday it would seek to raise some $2 billion in its public share offering, in the first major listing in the ride-hailing sector.

The San Francisco startup could be valued at more than $20 billion under the terms of the initial public offering (IPO) unveiled Monday, setting a price per share between $62 and $68.

Lyft’s listing comes ahead of a larger offering expected from Uber, which has a valuation of some $70 billion.

According to documents filed earlier, Lyft lost $911 million on $2.2 billion in 2018 revenues. The documents show revenues grew sharply from $343 million in 2016, but losses widened as well.

Shares will be traded on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “LYFT.”

No date was given for the listing, but the Wall Street Journal said Lyft shares could begin trading by the end of next week.

Lyft’s launch is the first of what is expected to be a wave of IPOs from venture-backed startups worth more than $1 billion, known in Silicon Valley as “unicorns.”

Others expected to move to Wall Street this year include the business collaboration firm Slack, visual discovery startup Pinterest, and possibly the big data group Palantir.

Lyft said in its Securities and Exchange Commission filing it has completed over one billion rides since its inception in 2012 and had bookings last year of $8.1 billion.

It has a 39 percent share of the US rideshare market, according to a survey cited in the filing. Lyft has also begun to move into other kinds of short-range transportation including bike and scooter-sharing.

Both Lyft and Uber have faced criticism for disrupting traditional taxi services and for using the model of drivers as independent contractors.

The rideshare firms claim that most drivers prefer the flexible work arrangement, even if it offers fewer benefits and less job security.

Lyft said it will seek to maintain its policy that drivers are independent contractors while noting that any legal challenge to this could have “adverse” consequences.

For the IPO, Lyft said some shares would be reserved for drivers who have completed at least 10,000 trips using the platform.

The company will offer a bonus of $1,000 to $10,000 to eligible drivers by March 19 that may be used to buy shares at the offering price, although they may opt to pocket the cash.

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